An Intentional Life

An Intentional Life | Lemon and the Sea: There's a difference between goals and intentions. You can fail to reach a goal, but if you are intentional, you can't fail. Base your life of intentions created from your beliefs, values, and passions to create a life you love.

You want to be successful in whatever you do, but how do you measure that success?

Are you tempted to base your understanding of success on money, fame, or accomplishing your goals? You're not alone. I used to be exactly where you are. I thought that my success depended on finding a job in my field, meeting the goals I had set up, and living comfortably without worrying about money.

But I was never satisfied with this. First, I wasn't able to find a job after college - and I looked hard. Second, I didn't always meet my goals - sometimes they weren't realistic and others were beyond my control. I learned that if I based my measure of success on the things that most people see as success, I was never going to get there. And even if I did, I wasn't going to be happy.

Intentions, not Goals

The problem with the normal measures of success is that they are fleeting. You may set and reach a goal, but the happiness you get from that only lasts a moment before you have to move on to the next thing. And if you don't reach your goal? You've failed and you can no longer think of yourself as a success.

That doesn't really make sense does it? There has to be a better way to decide what you're going to work towards every day. Something that isn't based on making the numbers, but on staying true to your values.

This is where intentions come in. They are broad statements based on your values that are flexible enough to accommodate whatever life throws at you and enduring enough to last through all the stages of your life.

Intentions are not goals. You do not create an intention in order to meet it at a later date. Instead, you try to meet your intention every day, in every thing that you do.

So What's the Difference?

Intentions are based on your values: what's most important to you. They don't depend on anyone else and they are based on choices every day.

Here's an example (if you've gone through the Get the Job You Want e-course, you will recognize it): My husband is a teacher. His goal is for 75% of his students to pass their standardized tests. His intention is that each of his students learn something during the school year. He may not reach his goals. Maybe only 70% of his students pass a certain exam. Perhaps many of his students don’t have help with homework at home and don’t learn as quickly as planned. If he only measured his success by meeting his goals, he would have failed. This failure may not even have anything to do with his teaching. Teachers can’t control their students’ actions, they can only control how they define success in their career.

Even if he doesn’t meet the goals he set in place, he can still meet his intentions. His students may learn respect, the importance of hard work, or the joy of learning. They still may not pass their tests, but he is successful if his students walk away from their time with him knowing even a little more than they did at the beginning.

I Failed at My Intention

Here's the thing: you can't really fail. Just because you didn't fulfill your intention today, that doesn't mean that you give up. It's not like a goal where you have to start over if you mess up. Instead, you just remind yourself of your intention, forgive yourself, and start the next day.

Don't Wait. Set your intentions now.

The best thing that you can do right now is start thinking about setting intentions for your life. Start by evaluating your values. The things that are most important to you are going to determine how you decide to live your life. Then, think of what you want to accomplish. The key is to think broadly - not what you want to accomplish this week or next year, but what do you want to be known for when you look back on your life.

One of the intentions I have for my business is “to pursue creativity and encourage those in my sphere of influence.” This allows me to change the type of projects that I do as long as I keep working creatively. Also, if a time comes in my life that I can’t dedicate as much time to work, I can still fulfill my value of helping those around me.

Give yourself room to grow. Expect that you can do this. And then go out and live your life.

You can also apply intentions to your work. Want to learn how to use intentions to find a job that you love? Sign up for my FREE email course.